Difference between revisions of "Monkey Hunt"

From Dragon
Jump to: navigation, search
(Wolf and Monkey)
m (Menagerie Cages)
 
(3 intermediate revisions by 3 users not shown)
Line 87: Line 87:
 
Beastmaster Ze asks if Hiro has any questions?  He allows as he might have some.  Well, there are many answers - some are true, some are false, some are free, some are less so. Hiro wonders if this beast has been dressed up with fake fangs and claws, but it looks authentic to him, even with careful scrutiny.  It certainly seemed scary and authentic, as far as he can tell.  Nevertheless, he tells Beastmaster Ze that he's seen better.  Beastmaster Ze raises an eyebrow - really? Better than an Imperial Panda? Hiro name-drops the Kraken again. Ah, Beastmaster Ze notes that he should talk to Jiahuo about that, but Hiro says he's not a very good storyteller.
 
Beastmaster Ze asks if Hiro has any questions?  He allows as he might have some.  Well, there are many answers - some are true, some are false, some are free, some are less so. Hiro wonders if this beast has been dressed up with fake fangs and claws, but it looks authentic to him, even with careful scrutiny.  It certainly seemed scary and authentic, as far as he can tell.  Nevertheless, he tells Beastmaster Ze that he's seen better.  Beastmaster Ze raises an eyebrow - really? Better than an Imperial Panda? Hiro name-drops the Kraken again. Ah, Beastmaster Ze notes that he should talk to Jiahuo about that, but Hiro says he's not a very good storyteller.
  
Lijuan pays her 5 zhu and comes through the line in the normal way; once she gets behind the partition, the Imperial Panda stops being fearsome, and makes chirping noises, rolly-pollying on the ground at her.  Lijuan thinks it is adorable and ridiculously fuzzy, and asks Beastmaster Ze if he trained it to do that.  Somewhat taken aback, he agrees that yes, he trained it to do that, exactly so. Lijuan asks about teaching her; there is some discussion about whether Reformed Troublemakers are suitable apprentices, but he is dubious.  Lijuan asks if she can pet it. No, it would devour her whole! It chirps again and wiggles its paws, belying this claim.
+
Lijuan pays her 5 zhu and comes through the line in the normal way; once she gets behind the partition, the Imperial Panda stops being fearsome, and makes chirping noises, roly-polying on the ground at her.  Lijuan thinks it is adorable and ridiculously fuzzy, and asks Beastmaster Ze if he trained it to do that.  Somewhat taken aback, he agrees that yes, he trained it to do that, exactly so. Lijuan asks about teaching her; there is some discussion about whether Reformed Troublemakers are suitable apprentices, but he is dubious.  Lijuan asks if she can pet it. No, it would devour her whole! It chirps again and wiggles its paws, belying this claim.
  
 
Hiro suggests, with a smidge of fast talk, that it would certainly be Very Impressive if he could control the beast sufficiently to let such an innocent girl go in and not be harmed. Beastmaster Ze contemplates this, and finds the idea has some merit.  He tells them to come back in an hour and a half, and he'll drum up paying customers for a special show, and they can have 15% of the take.
 
Hiro suggests, with a smidge of fast talk, that it would certainly be Very Impressive if he could control the beast sufficiently to let such an innocent girl go in and not be harmed. Beastmaster Ze contemplates this, and finds the idea has some merit.  He tells them to come back in an hour and a half, and he'll drum up paying customers for a special show, and they can have 15% of the take.
Line 106: Line 106:
 
Kasumi, bored, sneaks into the monkey house. The monkey wrangler seems to be trying to get the monkeys back into cages after their lunch, but there are ten monkeys in nine cages. This is quite a battle. Finally, he gives up and just gets them all into the main viewing cage with a lot of work, and goes back out to sit on the stool. Kasumi tries to count how many there are now, and is only really sure there are more than five, as they are quite fast-moving. Hiro looks for hidden talents among the monkeys. They seem to be particularly ill-behaved monkeys, and Hiro's monkey snubs them snootily. Hiro asks the wrangler about their behavior - they seem very fractious. He proclaims that putting monkeys in their monkey boxes always makes them irritable. Monkeys are never easily caged.  He tells stories about them, but makes the finger-money motion. What's his newest monkey like, Hiro asks, giving him a zhu. He points out one of them - he thinks it's that one. He was really on top of it until he got to eight. The eighth monkey was trouble, but with the ninth monkey, it's really out of hand. They're all crazy like this. They feed on each other's energies. (Hiro gets a temporary point of KS:Monkeys, but doesn't think that this guy is much of a monkey expert.)  Lijuan wants to know what their names are - it takes him about five minutes to get them lined up and then they are ready for rollcall. They jump up at being addressed as "Monkey One", "Monkey Two", and so on. Hiro is sure there are only nine monkeys at this point, since they're all lined up,  but Kasumi was sure there were ten earlier.  Hmm.
 
Kasumi, bored, sneaks into the monkey house. The monkey wrangler seems to be trying to get the monkeys back into cages after their lunch, but there are ten monkeys in nine cages. This is quite a battle. Finally, he gives up and just gets them all into the main viewing cage with a lot of work, and goes back out to sit on the stool. Kasumi tries to count how many there are now, and is only really sure there are more than five, as they are quite fast-moving. Hiro looks for hidden talents among the monkeys. They seem to be particularly ill-behaved monkeys, and Hiro's monkey snubs them snootily. Hiro asks the wrangler about their behavior - they seem very fractious. He proclaims that putting monkeys in their monkey boxes always makes them irritable. Monkeys are never easily caged.  He tells stories about them, but makes the finger-money motion. What's his newest monkey like, Hiro asks, giving him a zhu. He points out one of them - he thinks it's that one. He was really on top of it until he got to eight. The eighth monkey was trouble, but with the ninth monkey, it's really out of hand. They're all crazy like this. They feed on each other's energies. (Hiro gets a temporary point of KS:Monkeys, but doesn't think that this guy is much of a monkey expert.)  Lijuan wants to know what their names are - it takes him about five minutes to get them lined up and then they are ready for rollcall. They jump up at being addressed as "Monkey One", "Monkey Two", and so on. Hiro is sure there are only nine monkeys at this point, since they're all lined up,  but Kasumi was sure there were ten earlier.  Hmm.
  
Min Su meets up with the others again.  She says that there's something wrong, that's bugging her, but she can't put her finger on what it is.  It's not the monkeys - the monkey trainer has nine good monkeys, but he doesn't know how to talk to them (she later explains that she has a shtick in "Monkey is a language" and then just buys it with skill points). On questioning, she's pretty sure there were nine when she saw them (she doesn't seem to have trouble counting moving monkeys).  On the other hand, the three tigers are pretty impressive.  Wait, three tigers?  Yes, she thinks their names were Yin, Yang, and Chi maybe? The others think there are only two tigers, but Min Su is sure there were three.  Min Su concentrates for a moment, and says that there there are fourteen monkeys in the menagerie. The party says they brought four. Min Su is embarassed - she didn't bring any!
+
Min Su meets up with the others again.  She says that there's something wrong, that's bugging her, but she can't put her finger on what it is.  It's not the monkeys - the monkey trainer has nine good monkeys, but he doesn't know how to talk to them (she later explains that she has a shtick in "Monkey is a language" and then just buys it with skill points). On questioning, she's pretty sure there were nine when she saw them (she doesn't seem to have trouble counting moving monkeys).  On the other hand, the three tigers are pretty impressive.  Wait, three tigers?  Yes, she thinks their names were Yin, Yang, and Chi maybe? The others think there are only two tigers, but Min Su is sure there were three.  Min Su concentrates for a moment, and says that there there are fourteen monkeys in the menagerie. The party says they brought four. Min Su is embarrassed - she didn't bring any!
  
 
Yoshi suspects that they are looking for a monkey that can look like other animals - like tigers! Min Su does think one of the tigers was a lot more fidgety than the other two.
 
Yoshi suspects that they are looking for a monkey that can look like other animals - like tigers! Min Su does think one of the tigers was a lot more fidgety than the other two.
Line 124: Line 124:
 
Back at the horse pen, Hiro tries to keep a close watch on the monkey-like horse, and Kasumi starts looking around for the place that one might sneak through away from the horse pen, if one were a very small horse, or perhaps a monkey.  She finds a good spot between some bushes, and then her monkey (the Hiding Monkey) tugs on her sleeve, and indicates that she should move a little distance away.  When Yoshi and Hiro both miss their Per rolls, they lose track of one of the horses, just as Kasumi notes a skinny cat sneaking through the spot she was just in, and barely grabs the cat's tail. It makes a screeching noise, and tries to escape.  Kasumi's monkey jumps into the fray, and the bushes turn into a bit of a monkey hullabaloo.
 
Back at the horse pen, Hiro tries to keep a close watch on the monkey-like horse, and Kasumi starts looking around for the place that one might sneak through away from the horse pen, if one were a very small horse, or perhaps a monkey.  She finds a good spot between some bushes, and then her monkey (the Hiding Monkey) tugs on her sleeve, and indicates that she should move a little distance away.  When Yoshi and Hiro both miss their Per rolls, they lose track of one of the horses, just as Kasumi notes a skinny cat sneaking through the spot she was just in, and barely grabs the cat's tail. It makes a screeching noise, and tries to escape.  Kasumi's monkey jumps into the fray, and the bushes turn into a bit of a monkey hullabaloo.
  
Trying to distract him, Yoshi asks the horse attendant about the white-fetlocked horse.  He says that Yoshi has a good eye - the finest horses are jet black with one white fetlock - they are true descendants of the mighty horse spirit, and have a bit of his power, enabling them to go particularly fast, or carry particularly heavy loads, etc.  Yoshi asks if they are all different - well, no, they're not all ''specially'' different, though they are all real horses, so they're all unique in that sense.  But, many of them run very fast.  There are perhaps a hundred in all of the Empire at any given time. This horse, he can offer for the bargain price of 75 li. Snow Wolf instantly buys the horse - Yoshi thinks he's overpaying to show off - and Shuyan is suitably impressed. Yoshi asks what the special power of this particular horse is - the attendant says that that is a secret only its rider can divine.
+
Trying to distract him, Yoshi asks the horse attendant about the white-fetlocked horse.  He says that Yoshi has a good eye - the finest horses are jet black with one white fetlock - they are true descendants of the mighty [[Horse]] spirit, and have a bit of his power, enabling them to go particularly fast, or carry particularly heavy loads, etc.  Yoshi asks if they are all different - well, no, they're not all ''specially'' different, though they are all real horses, so they're all unique in that sense.  But, many of them run very fast.  There are perhaps a hundred in all of the Empire at any given time. This horse, he can offer for the bargain price of 75 li. Snow Wolf instantly buys the horse - Yoshi thinks he's overpaying to show off - and Shuyan is suitably impressed. Yoshi asks what the special power of this particular horse is - the attendant says that that is a secret only its rider can divine.
  
 
Back at the commotion, Kasumi is in a battle with two monkeys when Hiro heads over, and Hiro's monkey leaps into the fray as well.  Suspecting that this is more monkey trouble than they can deal with, Hiro runs off and wrangles Min Su over.  She frowns at everyone involved, and demands to know what they are doing to these poor monkeys.  All the monkeys sit up, very politely, and point at Kasumi.
 
Back at the commotion, Kasumi is in a battle with two monkeys when Hiro heads over, and Hiro's monkey leaps into the fray as well.  Suspecting that this is more monkey trouble than they can deal with, Hiro runs off and wrangles Min Su over.  She frowns at everyone involved, and demands to know what they are doing to these poor monkeys.  All the monkeys sit up, very politely, and point at Kasumi.
Line 147: Line 147:
 
Beastmaster Ze says that they will be here for the rest of the week!  Tell all their friends, and tell them to follow the signs.
 
Beastmaster Ze says that they will be here for the rest of the week!  Tell all their friends, and tell them to follow the signs.
  
Lijuan asks Beastmaster Ze about Imperial Pandas, and he tells her a bit.  The beasts of this kind are terrible monsters that attack and kill humans - but they're actually vegetarians, they eat bamboo.  There is an old story about why... Yoshi gives him a handful of zhu for the story.  The first Beast was created from a bear by the [[Emperor Foon]] himself, which is why they are called Imperial Pandas. He set them to guard his children, after one of his sons was killed by an assassin.  But now, they kill all men, because they hold them all guilty of wiping out the Foon line.  Then he makes his own int check, and looks at Lijuan speculatively, and invites her again to come back - he's sure he can double the take.  (People get one-shot KS: Imperial Panda)
+
Lijuan asks Beastmaster Ze about Imperial Pandas, and he tells her a bit.  The beasts of this kind are terrible monsters that attack and kill humans - but they're actually vegetarians, they eat bamboo.  There is an old story about why... Yoshi gives him a handful of zhu for the story.  The first Beast was created from a bear by the [[Foon Cha'ni|Emperor Foon]] himself, which is why they are called Imperial Pandas. He set them to guard his children, after one of his sons was killed by an assassin.  But now, they kill all men, because they hold them all guilty of wiping out the Foon line.  Then he makes his own int check, and looks at Lijuan speculatively, and invites her again to come back - he's sure he can double the take.  (People get one-shot KS: Imperial Panda)
  
 
Why is he so interested in the Foon heir, Yoshi ponders.  Mosty, he's sure there is a profit somewhere that he can make from the knowledge.   
 
Why is he so interested in the Foon heir, Yoshi ponders.  Mosty, he's sure there is a profit somewhere that he can make from the knowledge.   
Line 172: Line 172:
  
 
Once the ship returns, Ringmaster Te does not ''say'' anything, but he does make it silently clear that he knows where everyone was, and is most disappointed.
 
Once the ship returns, Ringmaster Te does not ''say'' anything, but he does make it silently clear that he knows where everyone was, and is most disappointed.
 +
 +
==Puttering==
 +
* Lijuan goes to the Yellow Silk School to spar.
  
 
[[Category:Minirun Logs]]
 
[[Category:Minirun Logs]]

Latest revision as of 11:53, 25 August 2012

"If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey" The run begins on the first day of spring, the Day of the Early Tiger in the month of the Tiger in the in the eleventh Year of the Spider since the Third Treaty of Houses.

The run takes place around (and on the way to) the Port of Auspicious Voyage in the Hon'eth Arcade.

Previous Run


Contents

Girls' Night Out

Ringmaster Te gathers the circus together, and says that Her Majesty Ti Wren has suggested that the circus not leave directly on the heels of such poor omens as wholesale slaughter of and by zombies; perhaps they might wait a week for final polishing, and leave on a more auspicious note? He must admit that she has a point, so the Silken Wings Circus will not be setting off immediately. Performers should polish their acts in the coming week - which everyone takes to mean "a week's vacation".

Min Su whispers to Shuyan - has she heard? They're in the Hon'eth Arcade! Shuyan, puzzled, wants to know who Min Su means. The Mystical Menagerie from the Roof of the World! Shuyan kind of remembers Min Su and others sitting up late and talking about Beastmaster Ze and how dreamy he was, but when the Ringmaster came by, everyone would shush each other. Ringmaster Te apparently hates Beastmaster Ze, the Menagerie, and the whole thing. Their animals don't even perform, they just sit there!

Anyway, a bunch of the girls in the circus were thinking about going over there, since they have the week off. They'll put some funds together to hire a boat - Shuyan should meet them at the docks at midnight. Shuyan invites Lijuan and Kasumi to come along, as it sounds like a fun trip. Lijuan promptly starts inviting the rest of the world - Yoshi and Hiro, and Butler-san (who does not wish to join her) and Takanata (who is busy) and Anto (who is also elsewhere occupied). Yoshi figures the plan is to use this as an excuse to look for Kuan-Xi, anyway.

The group divvies up the Monkeys of the Apocalypse, somewhat hesitantly, and then heads down to the docks.

"We don't have to take all of the monkeys. Many of them have "mischief" in their title." -Kasumi

The hiring of the boat seems to involve a lot of giggling. Hiro and Yoshi exchange knowing glances, and Hiro looks out for opportunities to girl wrangle. Kasumi assures everyone that there are no other ninjas attempting to sneak onto the boat. The captain looks gruff, but Min Su slips him another few silver, and the ship casts off on the midnight tide.

Lijuan tries to talk to the Not-So-Great Whale Spirit along the way, using the tactic of shouting "Here, whale whale whale" and tossing meat dumplings overboard. The party digresses into contemplating how you tell what gender a Great Spirit (or not-great spirit) is. The captain says they won't see any whales just passing through the Strait. It does get somewhat foggy, but that just increases the giggling factor. Aside from the fog, the dumplings don't seem to have done anything, and after a few days of travel, the ship arrives at the Port of Auspicious Voyage.

At the dock, Hiro vaults athletically over the railing, just to show off.

"Is the guy we're going to see dreamier than that?" -Lijuan
"Duh, of course!" -Min Su
"Well, if that's how it's going to be... " -Hiro
"We might need to resort to Teamwork!" -Yoshi

Shuyan and Kasumi also take up the challenge of somersaulting over the railing; Shuyan does better than the guys, and Kasumi does better than Shuyan.

In search of...

The street kids that Lijuan talks to say that the "circus" is supposed to be here, but it's mysteriously hard to find. There is some sort of a puzzle that needs to be solved, but they're not sure what it is. Lijuan also asks after Kuan-Xi. Yes, a rich white-haired girl was here a while ago, and the street kids (many of whom used to be in the healing school) healed her. But then she left - she said she had to go meet her friends in a day or two, maybe after she had rested - they weren't sure. Yoshi suspects that if she stayed anywhere, it would be in the best inn in town. He goes and checks that out, but the people he's talking to all seem more interested in trying to find out what Yoshi knows about Beastmaster Ze (which is not much). He does manage to confirm that a young woman with white hair stayed there for three nights, had posh dinners, went shopping, that sort of thing. She asked around for people who were familiar with the Butterfly Kingdom, but the innkeeper doesn't know if she found a person to her requirements.

Outside, Lijuan notes people looking around a lot - a few of them seem to see something above them, and then suddenly rush off. She chases after them, and ends up outside town, at a pair of large wooden gates, with a crier announcing the Mystical Menagerie from the Roof of the World. Well, this is where it is - but where is everyone else? She starts making her way back towards town, marking the trees with the elemental marker. She also looks around for hidden signs - she doesn't see anything, but does eventually see a crane flying overhead from the city, low enough to easily shoot. She doesn't shoot it, as that would be very bad luck.

Kasumi, also looking for hidden signs and directions, finds some fliers - they have lots of impressive verbiage, but end only with "follow the signs". Kasumi thinks this is not very reasonable for an entertainment that wants to make money, but Hiro thinks it builds the appeal, and can see the point. Hmm. Well, what if they use the monocle on the "finding monkey" and tell it to find the menagerie? They do so (several monkey treats placate its offense at being poked for blood), and the monkey leaps away, to climb through a window into a nearby store, where it starts going through the merchandise on an upper shelf. The shopkeeper drives it away with a broom, back to Shuyan, and it gives her a little ceramic crane. Oops. Shuyan heads into the store, accompanied by Yoshi, and with many apologies, gives the crane to the shopkeeper. He is somewhat cranky, though Yoshi is able to persuade him towards more forgiveness.

Then, Lijuan finds the party again, triumphant. Now it is time to see if she can retrace her steps with the marks she's left herself - and she's careful to erase the marks as she goes, so as to not spoil the menagerie's mystique. Lijuan doesn't do so well at finding all her marks, but Hiro is a bit better, and between the two of them, they make their way back to the site. Yoshi's monkey spots Min Su on the way - the other girls have split up to try to find the menagerie, and Min Su seems to be having better luck than the others.

"Welcome to the Mystical Menagerie from the Roof of the World. Enter if you dare! For two zhu."

Menagerie Cages

The group pays their two zhu each, and heads in. There are a lot of cages of animals around. Ever hopeful, Lijuan looks around for a cage of whales. She does spot a sign: "Legend of the Whale", much to everyone else's surprise. The man standing by the sign indicates that he can tell stories of whales, though he rubs his fingers together in the universal symbol for "if you give me some money". She gives him a few zhu.

"Once in the before time..." -Storyteller
"Before when?" -Lijuan
"Er..."
"Let him finish!"
"Once, in the before time, powerful leviathan beasts roamed the ocean..."
"We saw a kraken!" -Lijuan
"Really? What was that like?" -Storyteller, suddenly much more enthusiastic
"It ate our elephant!" -Lijuan

He is quite distracted from his story, and wants to know about the kraken. Lijuan makes the finger-zhu motions, hoping to be given zhu for telling about the kraken, but he doesn't think that's how the menagerie is supposed to work. Lijuan refuses to tell him any more about the kraken, and everyone else clamors for him to go back to the story about the whale.

He says that in the before time, there were mighty leviathan creatures roaming the ocean, and subject only to the bidding of the sea-born. He describes them, in general, and adds a few other small notes, but doesn't seem to have a great tale to tell. When he asks if they want to know anything else, Kasumi wants to know how to tell a girl whale from a boy whale, but he does not appear to have an answer to that one. The whales are now said to be far off, in the deepest depths of the oceans, though they sometimes menace shipping. Whenever you encounter a deep fog at morning, they lurk nearby. Lijuan is ecstatic - her offering of dumplings must have worked! (She also gets one temporary use of KS: Whales skill).

Hiro is cross - there is no plot to this so-called whale story! The whale guy insists that there is plot - for example, whales can only be tamed by those with the blood of the sea. Like him! Wait, really? Yoshi wonders if he's lying about that, but gets the idea that he does think it's true that in the highly unlikely event that the party finds a whale, that he would be able to tame it. They get his name (Jiahuo) in case they want to find him again later, once they have a whale.

Then, it's off in search of other animals. There is a cage of cranes, and the crane attendant releases one as the group watches - it flies over the city. Ahah! That was like the crane Lijuan saw! It must be what the other people followed to get here! And, that was what the monkey was trying to tell them! If only they understood monkey...

At the monkey cage, the cage is empty; there's a little stool in front of it, and a sign that says "Back after feeding time."

There are some menagerie criers shouting - See the Beast! Most Fearsome of All Animals! 5 zhu! The party gripe amongst themselves - Ringmaster Te doesn't charge for every single thing! Bah. Min Su notes that one, this is yet another reason Ringmaster Te hates them, and two, Ringmaster Te doesn't even think they're really from the Roof of the World!

Lijuan looks around for random kids - there are a lot, trying to get their parents to take them to see the Beast - and then specifically kids who work at the menagerie. There aren't so many of those, but there is a young man dressed quite well, in a cage in front of two white tigers. He says they belong to his father, Beastmaster Ze.

"I hear he's dreamy." -Lijuan
"I, uh, wouldn't know."

At the boy's urging, the two white tigers (named Yin and Yang) leap to their places, and then back and forth acrobatically. Lijuan is dutifully impressed, and asks if he trained them himself - no, that was his father.

Kasumi looks around for other people sneaking around, and, after a little while, spots a familiar-looking woman behind the dog cage, apparently keeping out of sight of the cage's maintainer. Lijuan asks if that's one of the bounty hunters - yup, that's Snow Leopard. Kasumi sneaks up near her to observe, and hears her grumbling to herself: "Where is that idiot? Great Master of Animals, can't follow a stupid crane."

Yoshi chats with the menagerie workers about news from the Roof of the World. Oh, if he is interested in animals from the Roof of the World itself, would he like to see the three Birds of Paradise? These are three birds with long plumed tails, sitting serenely on individual perches. They say if you capture one of the Birds of Paradise and set it free, it will grant you a boon. Yoshi wonders why they haven't set them free - well, because the menagerie collects them, from the tallest peaks of the Roof of the World (and also from certain low-lying glades). These birds were just gathered as they went through their most northern run. That puts Yoshi back on track - how was the Roof of the World? Very cold, the man says. There are also a great number of bandits, and trouble to be had with passage through, but Beastmaster Ze has his ways. Yoshi says he has been planning to go - does the paradise bird handler have any advice? Dress warmly. And bring an armed guard, or an illustrious hero. Finally, in an emergency, go uphill.

"Are there terrible beasts at the bottom of hills?" -Shuyan
"There are terrible beasts at the top. And at the bottom. Really, there are terrible beasts all over. But the temples are at the tops of the hills."

The bird handler tells Yoshi that Beastmaster Ze spent many years learning the ways of Animal Magnetism, and most of the menagerie workers have studied under him. Yoshi wonders - do the birds of paradise do tricks? Only when released, he says, making the finger-money motion again.

The party tries to interrogate the bird handler - what sort of boons do birds of paradise grant? Almost anything, whatever your heart's desire might be. Well, okay, but what are some previous examples of boons that they have granted for other people? He seems to think this is missing the point, and asks what Shuyan's fondest desire is. She looks sad, and says it's to have her mother not be dead. The guy looks a bit uncomfortable - okay, birds of paradise probably can't do that one. The group decides birds of paradise boons are useless if they are unable to raise the dead, and heads on to the next cages.

Hiro, impatient, and unwilling to spend five good zhu, rolls under the canvas of the tent that the Beast is in. There is a line of people, going singly behind a partition; as people head behind the partition, there are horrific growling and snarling noises. Hiro joins the line, sure that this is some sort of trick. However, on the other side of the partition, there is in fact a huge and dangerous-looking beast - like a bear, but even larger, and with larger claws and teeth, all covered in white and black splotches of fur.

Beastmaster Ze asks if Hiro has any questions? He allows as he might have some. Well, there are many answers - some are true, some are false, some are free, some are less so. Hiro wonders if this beast has been dressed up with fake fangs and claws, but it looks authentic to him, even with careful scrutiny. It certainly seemed scary and authentic, as far as he can tell. Nevertheless, he tells Beastmaster Ze that he's seen better. Beastmaster Ze raises an eyebrow - really? Better than an Imperial Panda? Hiro name-drops the Kraken again. Ah, Beastmaster Ze notes that he should talk to Jiahuo about that, but Hiro says he's not a very good storyteller.

Lijuan pays her 5 zhu and comes through the line in the normal way; once she gets behind the partition, the Imperial Panda stops being fearsome, and makes chirping noises, roly-polying on the ground at her. Lijuan thinks it is adorable and ridiculously fuzzy, and asks Beastmaster Ze if he trained it to do that. Somewhat taken aback, he agrees that yes, he trained it to do that, exactly so. Lijuan asks about teaching her; there is some discussion about whether Reformed Troublemakers are suitable apprentices, but he is dubious. Lijuan asks if she can pet it. No, it would devour her whole! It chirps again and wiggles its paws, belying this claim.

Hiro suggests, with a smidge of fast talk, that it would certainly be Very Impressive if he could control the beast sufficiently to let such an innocent girl go in and not be harmed. Beastmaster Ze contemplates this, and finds the idea has some merit. He tells them to come back in an hour and a half, and he'll drum up paying customers for a special show, and they can have 15% of the take.

Wolf and Monkey

Then, Shuyan is startled by Snow Wolf, behind her, who asks what she's doing here? Shuyan notes that it's the great menagerie, so of course she would be here. Snow Wolf must admit that makes sense.

"Your love for animals is equalled only by my own!" -Snow Wolf

He says that he was hoping to purchase a fine tracking dog or a reliable horse here - it is said that Beastmaster Ze has some of the best stock. He assumes she is looking for the snakes in cage five? Has she seen them yet? He offers her his arm. Shuyan allows as she is interested in seeing all the animals, but would like to see the snakes, so she takes him arm and allows him to start escorting her around the menagerie.

Meanwhile, everyone else is in a bit of a panic, trying to remember which monkey exactly they stole from Snow Wolf, and how to avoid letting him see it. Yoshi collects Hana's monkey, just in case. Snow Wolf pats Shuyan's monkey (the Swapping Monkey) on the head, and it smiles at him - so it's probably not that one.

"I am probably the least stealthy, most honorable person to hold this stolen monkey." -Yoshi

They head to the snake cages - huge snakes, little snakes, they're all getting along really well. Both Snow Wolf and Shuyan think that's kind of odd. The giant constrictor comes over and gets his head rubbed. Snow Wolf and Shuyan question the snake trainer on his methods and he agrees to reveal some tips when Snow Wolf pays him. He lectures about snake training and both Shuyan and Snow Wolf pick up some one-use levels of Snake Mastery skill.

Kasumi, bored, sneaks into the monkey house. The monkey wrangler seems to be trying to get the monkeys back into cages after their lunch, but there are ten monkeys in nine cages. This is quite a battle. Finally, he gives up and just gets them all into the main viewing cage with a lot of work, and goes back out to sit on the stool. Kasumi tries to count how many there are now, and is only really sure there are more than five, as they are quite fast-moving. Hiro looks for hidden talents among the monkeys. They seem to be particularly ill-behaved monkeys, and Hiro's monkey snubs them snootily. Hiro asks the wrangler about their behavior - they seem very fractious. He proclaims that putting monkeys in their monkey boxes always makes them irritable. Monkeys are never easily caged. He tells stories about them, but makes the finger-money motion. What's his newest monkey like, Hiro asks, giving him a zhu. He points out one of them - he thinks it's that one. He was really on top of it until he got to eight. The eighth monkey was trouble, but with the ninth monkey, it's really out of hand. They're all crazy like this. They feed on each other's energies. (Hiro gets a temporary point of KS:Monkeys, but doesn't think that this guy is much of a monkey expert.) Lijuan wants to know what their names are - it takes him about five minutes to get them lined up and then they are ready for rollcall. They jump up at being addressed as "Monkey One", "Monkey Two", and so on. Hiro is sure there are only nine monkeys at this point, since they're all lined up, but Kasumi was sure there were ten earlier. Hmm.

Min Su meets up with the others again. She says that there's something wrong, that's bugging her, but she can't put her finger on what it is. It's not the monkeys - the monkey trainer has nine good monkeys, but he doesn't know how to talk to them (she later explains that she has a shtick in "Monkey is a language" and then just buys it with skill points). On questioning, she's pretty sure there were nine when she saw them (she doesn't seem to have trouble counting moving monkeys). On the other hand, the three tigers are pretty impressive. Wait, three tigers? Yes, she thinks their names were Yin, Yang, and Chi maybe? The others think there are only two tigers, but Min Su is sure there were three. Min Su concentrates for a moment, and says that there there are fourteen monkeys in the menagerie. The party says they brought four. Min Su is embarrassed - she didn't bring any!

Yoshi suspects that they are looking for a monkey that can look like other animals - like tigers! Min Su does think one of the tigers was a lot more fidgety than the other two.

Lijuan, excited again, goes back to count the whales. There are still none.

The group starts heading around, counting animals. There are five horses - Lijuan notices that one of them is black with a white fetlock, which she finds terrifying.

"I have monkey treats, but they're not for horses." -Kasumi

One of the horse's ears perks up at the mention of monkey treats, which seems very suspicious. Oh, and there are definitely only two tigers now, as Lijuan runs to check. She remarks to the Beastmaster's son that she really liked the Beast - it was so fuzzy and rolly-polly. The boy frowns, and calls over one of the menagerie workers.

"This little girl is pretty confused and lost. Can you find her parents?"

Lijuan says that Yoshi is near the horses, but she doesn't want to go near the black horse. That seems to satisfy them.

Back at the horse pen, Hiro tries to keep a close watch on the monkey-like horse, and Kasumi starts looking around for the place that one might sneak through away from the horse pen, if one were a very small horse, or perhaps a monkey. She finds a good spot between some bushes, and then her monkey (the Hiding Monkey) tugs on her sleeve, and indicates that she should move a little distance away. When Yoshi and Hiro both miss their Per rolls, they lose track of one of the horses, just as Kasumi notes a skinny cat sneaking through the spot she was just in, and barely grabs the cat's tail. It makes a screeching noise, and tries to escape. Kasumi's monkey jumps into the fray, and the bushes turn into a bit of a monkey hullabaloo.

Trying to distract him, Yoshi asks the horse attendant about the white-fetlocked horse. He says that Yoshi has a good eye - the finest horses are jet black with one white fetlock - they are true descendants of the mighty Horse spirit, and have a bit of his power, enabling them to go particularly fast, or carry particularly heavy loads, etc. Yoshi asks if they are all different - well, no, they're not all specially different, though they are all real horses, so they're all unique in that sense. But, many of them run very fast. There are perhaps a hundred in all of the Empire at any given time. This horse, he can offer for the bargain price of 75 li. Snow Wolf instantly buys the horse - Yoshi thinks he's overpaying to show off - and Shuyan is suitably impressed. Yoshi asks what the special power of this particular horse is - the attendant says that that is a secret only its rider can divine.

Back at the commotion, Kasumi is in a battle with two monkeys when Hiro heads over, and Hiro's monkey leaps into the fray as well. Suspecting that this is more monkey trouble than they can deal with, Hiro runs off and wrangles Min Su over. She frowns at everyone involved, and demands to know what they are doing to these poor monkeys. All the monkeys sit up, very politely, and point at Kasumi.

Kasumi says, leadingly, to the monkeys that it ought to be much more fun at the circus than at this stupid menagerie. They go on adventures. The new monkey gives Kasumi a look as if to say "And...?" Hiro notes "...and we have monkey treats!" That seems to be what the monkey was looking for - he leaps to Hiro and starts goes through his belongings to look for monkey treats. A little while later, all the monkeys appear to have collars like the circus monkeys, though after some closer scrutiny, it appears that the new monkey has squished a monkey treat so as to look like a collar.

Back at the horse enclosure, Snow Leopard stalks up to Snow Wolf and Shuyan. "I thought you were going to buy a dog... wait, what is she doing here?" Shuyan smiles charmingly. "At least she didn't bring her meddlesome friends."

"I try to use my nonexistent telepathic powers to warn my friends." -Shuyan
"This seems like the dramatically appropriate time for me to wander into the conversation."" -Yoshi
"I don't think we've met... ching" -Yoshi, invoking his "sparkly" shtick

Snow Leopard concedes that they are not actually on a job right now, so there is nothing the party can screw up (and therefore, she clearly hopes, Takanata's Rule of Threes won't bite her). She introduces herself, and her stupid brother, Snow Wolf. Yoshi notes that Snow Wolf has fine taste in horses. Snow Leopard says that her brother is here to buy things - she's just here to make sure he doesn't get into trouble.

Snow Wolf suggests that they should go to the special Beast exhibition, which is supposed to be soon, and after that, they should all four go to dinner! Shuyan smiles, so Yoshi agrees, wondering whether she's actually interested in Snow Wolf or has some ulterior motive.

Imperial Panda Show

Everyone heads to the tent with the Beast in it, for the special exhibition. Min Su makes sure to take the monkeys away from Hiro and Lijuan, as there are to be no monkeys permitted in with a Slavering Beast. This time, the tent is set up without a partition, except a very small one at the side, where an assistant directs Lijuan to stand, and not come out until Beastmaster Ze tells her to. The party suddenly realizes that they have failed to evaluate Beastmaster Ze's dreaminess. Yoshi, an expert in Fashion and Grooming, thinks that he's not that attractive, but has flashy, gaudy clothes. All the girls think he is Very Dreamy, though, and Snow Wolf is completely stunned at the effect that he has on Snow Leopard. Yoshi whispers that this is Animal Magnetism, but Snow Wolf still has never seen anything like it.

The Beast comes out, roaring mightily. Beastmaster Ze says that such are his powers of animal magnetism that even the smallest girl can come in and pet it with... a fair likelihood of survival. Lijuan comes out, and it roly-polies again. They open the cage, gingerly, and Lijuan goes in and gives it a hug and skritches, before she is coaxed out again. Beastmaster Ze takes a bow, and Lijuan is herded back behind the partition, and the Beast roars again.

Beastmaster Ze says that they will be here for the rest of the week! Tell all their friends, and tell them to follow the signs.

Lijuan asks Beastmaster Ze about Imperial Pandas, and he tells her a bit. The beasts of this kind are terrible monsters that attack and kill humans - but they're actually vegetarians, they eat bamboo. There is an old story about why... Yoshi gives him a handful of zhu for the story. The first Beast was created from a bear by the Emperor Foon himself, which is why they are called Imperial Pandas. He set them to guard his children, after one of his sons was killed by an assassin. But now, they kill all men, because they hold them all guilty of wiping out the Foon line. Then he makes his own int check, and looks at Lijuan speculatively, and invites her again to come back - he's sure he can double the take. (People get one-shot KS: Imperial Panda)

Why is he so interested in the Foon heir, Yoshi ponders. Mosty, he's sure there is a profit somewhere that he can make from the knowledge.

"Well, that's boring, but not evil." -Yoshi

Lijuan wonders - could the party get an Imperial Panda of their own? No one else is very excited by the idea of a pet that rampages around killing people unless Lijuan is skritching it.

Kasumi makes a brief run through the rest of the animal cages - there are six turtles, seven cranes, eight dogs, nine monkeys, and "twelve not-whales".

She asks the crane handler about cranes - he says they get a bad rap. Everyone thinks the Phoenix is the exciting magical bird, but cranes are the birds of omen, the birds of seeking, the birds of precision. They don't lumber about uselessly the way other animals do, too.

Yoshi asks about the difference between turtles and tortoises, but Mike is a little fuzzy on this one, so he doesn't learn much.

"But now they only have three horses! Well, maybe they bring one out from the back."

The dog handler says that dogs are the most easily trained of all animals - the dogs do some tricks, demonstrating, though Ho is not particularly impressed. Kasumi asks about the loyalty of dogs - the handler says that the Great Dog Spirit is the most trustworthy of all the Cycle Spirits. And, in their relation with people, dogs will sometimes do things that are needed that they have never been trained at all to do.

Snow Wolf says that he and Snow Leopard and Shuyan and Yoshi have dinner reservations now (hey, how did he manage that?). They go on a double date, in which both Yoshi and Snow Leopard appear to be playing the part of the chaperones. Shuyan does her best to try and find out if the pair are on any Missions of Awfulness, but no, in fact, they're just resupplying. Then, Snow Wolf gets only one success on his seduction roll (his sister is clearly throwing him off his game), so Snow Leopard reminds him that they're "about to be late for that thing", and Shuyan and Yoshi take their leave.

Lijuan is keen to go back to the next Beast show the next day, but Min Su notes that they do have to get back by midnight to get back on the boat. Kasumi names the new monkey Boots, and the party heads back to the boat. Shuyan notes that, due to the presence of the Swapping Monkey, she seems to have an expensive fur cap now instead of a flimsy twig hat.

On the trip back, Lijuan does her best (with her one point of KS: Whales) to tell the Not-So-Great Whale Spirit "hello". She doesn't see any whales, but does see... a piece of driftwood? When she points it out, Ho sees the Stick, and leaps into the ocean after it. Dodging sharks, he gets the wood and swims back to the ship. Hey - that's a piece of trim from Kuan-Xi's carriage!

Once the ship returns, Ringmaster Te does not say anything, but he does make it silently clear that he knows where everyone was, and is most disappointed.

Puttering

  • Lijuan goes to the Yellow Silk School to spar.